Friday, April 22, 2016

My Fast Day


I am surprised by how much I have come to look forward to my Friday day of fasting and prayer.  To be completely honest, when I first started it (January 1, 2016), it seemed a bit stressful and at times uncomfortable-- and I kind of dreaded it and wondered whether I had made a mistake in committing myself to this practice.  Now--and I have to think this is a grace from God--I actually love it.  

I begin the day by getting up and going to Mass in the morning, which feels like the perfect way to mark this special day.  I don't even mind getting up early for that anymore, either!  Afterwards, I can stay in the church as long as I want to pray, before going home and beginning my day's activities, which I try to keep light so that I have plenty of time for spiritual reading and more prayer. 

It is a day of complete simplicity and calm, a respite from the busyness of the rest of the week.  How glad I am now, that the Lord inspired me to do this!  I recommend it to you all.  +

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How Sin Hurts Jesus


I have no idea if this is theologically sound*, but today in prayer, Jesus allowed me to experience in a very deep and personal way, how my uncharitable acts deepen His wounds even more.

This was something I knew on an intellectual basis--and so of course, I am always sorry for my sins--but after what happened to me today, I feel a sense of sorrow and remorse for my failures unlike anything I've ever experienced.  Each one of my sins, quite literally, make His wounds more painful and make Him suffer more.

This awareness makes me want to avoid all sin as I never have before: since I love Him so much, I cannot bear the thought of hurting Him!

The Catechism says this:  "Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt. And it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the apostle, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We, however, profess to know him. And when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him. Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. (CCC 598, quoting St. Francis of Assisi, Admonitio 5.3)"

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Contemplative LIfe


I was thinking today about how incredibly blessed I am to be able to have such a contemplative life.  It's so simple, calm and beautiful, and I love it very much.

Even though I live with my parents in order to take care of them, they do not yet require a lot of hands-on tending, and when I close the door of my room, I can hardly hear anything that goes on in the rest of the house.  I am free to do as much spiritual reading as I wish, and I have my beloved books right here in my room.  I also have all my St. Louis Jesuits CDs which I can listen to whenever I want--they are always inspirational and touch my heart.

Since I am retired, I do not have to go out much (although I do some charitable work also), so I can stay recollected all day, and pray throughout the day.  Jesus is always with me, the minute I seek Him.  Sometimes, He seeks me, and gently pulls me away from something I am doing in order that I may come to Him.  

I reflect a lot on all the incredible and wonderful things God has done for me throughout my life, and the profound mercy and forgiveness I have received, so completely undeserved!  I spend a lot of time just thanking Him, and weeping from the joy of realizing His immense Love for me, also not deserved! 

For reasons I cannot possibly understand, He found me for His Church, and chose me to belong exclusively to Him, no one else.  I have known that for a very long time, and did enter religious life twice, although in my immaturity, I did not trust Him to lead me to the right place.  I was so eager to give Him everything, I just leaped, and did not make wise choices--so I am not in a religious community today, even though I know I belong in one.  As I wrote recently, though, He may be giving me another chance to have the consecrated life He willed for me and for which I long. 

When I go to bed at night, I first turn on the battery-operated votive light under my crucifix (safe to leave on all night!), and get settled in bed.  Then I make the Sign of the Cross and tell Him how much I love and adore Him, and how much I want Him to live in me, and I to live in Him. Then I just relax into His Love flowing through me. If I feel like it, I tell Him anything I want to say about my fears, hopes, aspirations--even though He knows them already.  I can confide my deepest truths to Him, because He loves me no matter what and I know He always will.  

Jesus is my whole life now--it is like being in Heaven already--although I do long to see Him face-to-face and embrace Him!

I am painfully aware that very few people outside monasteries have the luxury of such a life.  I pray that everyone might have it at some point in their lives, because it is a very precious gift to be able to spend so much time with the Lord. +